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How to Deal With Overwhelm When You Have Too Much Going On

by Siti Sarah. |

Being someone who works or studies in today’s age is no easy task. Let’s face it, between having to balance between work, personal life and having a social life; it can all be too much to handle at once. Being overwhelmed not only can wreck your efficacy, but it can also affect your mental capabilities. Everyone feels this way yet deals with the stress differently.

Image: SELF


Here are some ways that you can efficiently moderate your stress level and still be productive!


1) Step back and take a breather

This might be counter-productive, but it will help you in the long run. The first thing you need to do is to pause with whatever you are doing, and take a step back. Although sometimes it's unavoidable to completely avoid handling more than you are able to bargain for, it is easier to step back and take another perspective. Think to yourself, whatever is causing you to be overwhelmed, is it worth the stress? Will there be material consequences if you are not able to finish your job on time?



It is very important for you to take your time to assess your priorities and arrange them in order of most important to least important; with the most important being the task with the largest risk if you fail to complete it. This is so that you know which task you should allocate more resources – time and energy – for in order to achieve the most satisfying outcome.



2) Lay out a systematic plan

Now that you know what task you should focus more on, it’s time to create a plan. A plan should always revolve around the order that you’ve set your tasks in. To create an effective plan, the skill you should possess and stick by with is self-discipline.



The most common and effective way is by creating a schedule. This might sound boring and the usual that everyone says but once you put your heart into really penning down your thoughts and plans, it puts an order in your life in a systematic way. A schedule does not have to be a long-term solution, but just until the overwhelm calms down and you have your tasks sorted out. We have it all planned out in our head and that is what overwhelms you. With proper planning, it allows you to visualise better to get an overview of what needs to be prioritised first. Think of it as a buffer between you and your next emotional breakdown. The most important part in creating a schedule is to insert proper time management for all the tasks.


3) Forgo unnecessary load

When you have your priorities in order, it is also crucial for you to balance out the pros and cons of doing those tasks. Between the assignments you have due next week and the party you absolutely need to attend the night before, what gives you more benefits? These abstinences are not permanent, but once you have your main task settled and left behind, the relief you get will be rewarding.



However, it is also necessary for you to NOT sacrifice time to rest and sleep! A working person or a student might think sufficient sleep is unnecessary and can be forgone, but lack of sleep and fatigue can only boost overwhelmed feelings and amplify your worries when there should be nothing to even be worried about. It's important to find a good balance.



4) Improve personal habits in the future

Now that you’ve got all that mess and overwhelm behind you, it’s time you review for what you can do better in the future to 'have it all together'. Indulge in introspection, what contributed to your increase in stress levels? Improper time management? Procrastination? What about habits in your personal life?


One way you can keep track of your habits and feelings would be using a habit tracker.


Sometimes, tasks and responsibilities aren't the only things that overwhelms you. It could also be the people around. Take your time to slowly remove what you feel that's not worth it that causes you stress and unhappiness. This might be difficult because sometimes your friends and peers could also affect your mood. Don’t be afraid to disengage yourself from anyone who tries to bring you down. Furthermore, your diet might also contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. An unbalanced diet can lead to a lowered self-esteem and lack of energy, which can both be attributed for the growing overwhelming feelings. Lastly, a healthy lifestyle can contribute to a happier conduct. Be sure to exercise every now and then, this is because exercise can be a good platform of escapism from reality.


All in all, being overwhelmed might have its own silver lining. It pushes you to work harder and smarter, but it can be detrimental in the long run. After all, what’s life without a little stress to mix things up?


You may find out more about Siti Sarah on her Instagram too!


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